THE DAUNTING ROUTE OF MANIAL & FANAR, IRAQI CHALDEAN REFUGEES IN LEBANON

THE DAUNTING ROUTE OF MANIAL & FANAR, IRAQI CHALDEAN REFUGEES IN LEBANON
Manial and Fanar, Christian Iraqi refugee couple in their seventies in their precarious housing,Beirut, Lebanon (29 March 2019)

Danial & Fanar, Chaldean Iraqi refugees in Lebanon

Danial Aleez, 79 years old and Fanar FRJO BACHIR, 68 years old, are Iraqi refugees. They come from Erbil in Iraq. Today, they live in cramped housing conditions in Beirut, DEKWANA district, Lebanon. They pay a monthly rent of 500 US dollars. Iraqi government gives Danial a monthly retirement pension of $ 400. Danial’s sister helps to pay the rest of the rent and also the medical treatment. They have been granted UNHCR refugee status.

Not even a picture was saved: Chaldean Iraqi refugees left everything while fleeing Daesh

Until 2014 when he left Erbil in Iraq, Danial worked as a general manager in a bank. He and his wife left everything an evening of August 2014 three hours before IS arrival. They could not save pictures of their former life in Iraq. They came on their own to Lebanon with daughter and their two grand-children.

The United Nations gave them monthly financial support of $200 but stopped. The UN still helps them on a punctual basis to finance the medical treatment. The family is funding the rest as do grateful compatriots who have not forgotten Danial’s generosity when he held enviable position in the Iraqi society.

Fanar shows me a small oriental tray on which are carefully placed cups of coffee and biscuits. She smiles at me. She is well dressed and has well-styled hair. She wears an elegant coat worn with age. She displays dignity. I imagine her gracefully hosting guests in Erbil, not so long ago, in her former and undoubtedly beautiful house.

Danial, her husband, is seriously affected by a kidney disease. Three days a week, he undergoes dialysis whose cost is beyond his scarce resources. How long can this last? He and his wife prefer not to think about it. Because of the disease, Danial has serious injuries.

No answer yet to their asylum claims in the United States and in France

As Iraqi refugees, they cherish the dream to go to the United States. They say they have also lodged a claim for asylum to the French Embassy. Since, they have no news. They do not have a sponsor in France. Their daughter and her Iraqi husband have also applied for asylum in France.

Frazzled, Fanar breaks down and takes me in her arms. She is crying, whispering in my ear she is tired of this wandering and exile life which puts a huge strain on her faith.

CHRISTIAN IRAQI REFUGEES IN LEBANON REGISTERED WITH THE UNHCR
29 March 2019: Manial Aleez, Christian Iraqi refugee in her seventies registered with her family with the UNHCR, DEKWANA, RAJ neighborhood, Beirut, Lebanon

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